The rumors surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers and their interest in shooting guard Andre Iguodala just won't go away. This isn't altogether surprising, as the Lakers' depth is questionable and Iguodala is expected to be available at some point.
Though the Memphis Grizzlies are holding out hope that they can trade Iguodala before the deadline, there's no guarantee that they'll be able to do so. If Iguodala is instead set free after the deadline, the Lakers won't be the only team interested.
"If [the Grizzlies don't trade him], Iguodala will be cut loose from Memphis and free to sign with whomever he chooses—around the league, that's expected to be the Lakers," Sean Deveney of Heavy.com wrote. "But there are still teams in the mix. All, according to speculation from league executives, are in the Western Conference."
As Deveney pointed out, teams looking to contend with Los Angeles could theoretically get more value out of the former Finals MVP. With the Golden State Warriors, Iguodala faced LeBron James-led teams in the Finals four straight times. Golden State went 3-1 against James' Cleveland Cavaliers in Finals series, and Iguodala was named MVP in 2015.
Teams may also go after Iguodala to prevent him from partnering with James, Anthony Davis and the Lakers.
"He has the experience guarding LeBron, and that's what you want out of him," one unnamed general manager said, per Deveney. "That and you want to keep him off the Lakers, you want their bench to be a weak spot."
Keeping Iguodala off Los Angeles' bench could be a primary reason Western Conference contenders go after him. The Lakers have gotten to 11-2 because the duo of James and Davis has been phenomenal. However, there will be times when one or both of the superstars are at less than 100 percent—and times when they shouldn't be on the court.
Davis, for example, recently sat out a game against the Warriors with a sore shoulder. Both he and James are coming off injury-marred seasons. Keeping them healthy for the postseason can and should be a top goal for Los Angeles.
Adding a high-end bench player like Iguodala would help ensure that the Lakers can survive "load management" games. Expect Los Angeles to make a push for Iguodala if and when he becomes available. Also, expect the Lakers to continue evaluating other potential additions throughout the season.
Los Angeles pondered plenty of options during the offseason, including Phoenix Suns center Aron Baynes.
According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, L.A. was among several teams that hoped Baynes would become available.
"Phoenix acquired Baynes on draft night, and in the weeks to come, contenders such as the Lakers hoped Baynes would reach a buyout with the Suns to hit the open market, sources said," Charania wrote.
Los Angeles ultimately signed center DeMarcus Cousins and then Howard after Cousins was lost to a torn ACL. Howard has been a pleasant surprise, but it's not hard to see how Baynes might have fit at center for the Lakers.
Baynes is averaging 15 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game. It's unlikely the Suns will part with him at any point this season. He is scheduled to become a free agent in 2020, though, so he could potentially be a Lakers target in the offseason.